Every year, we look forward to bringing an impressive cross-section of the museum field together for our Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo. We learn so much from each other, and we make valuable interpersonal connections that are critical for moving our field forward.

We also know that to meet our full potential, our Alliance needs to hear from the broadest possible spectrum of people who work in our field – from emerging professionals to senior leaders, from large and small museums, and from a diverse array of individuals, including those in groups that are underrepresented in our field. For some, the costs of attending a conference may put this rewarding experience out of reach, and that means a lost opportunity not only for these professionals but for our field as a whole. The more voices we can include, the better our results in tackling the challenges for our field and our future.

That’s why we’re always looking for ways to make our Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo more affordable, both by creating opportunities to lower your costs and by increasing available scholarship funds. For our 2020 gathering in San Francisco, we’re introducing a few more ways:

  • Volunteering:  Attendees can save on registration by volunteering, and as in 2019, we’re extending this opportunity beyond the local area. Volunteers from across the US and abroad can apply to receive complimentary full registration in exchange for working a total of eight hours. Our local volunteers will continue to get one-day passes for volunteering for a total of four hours. This is an excellent way to meet your peers from other institutions as you help us deliver an outstanding experience for our attendees. Email volunteers@aam-us.org for more information.
  • Scholarships: Each year, we raise funds to support broad participation at the conference through scholarships. For our 2019 conference in New Orleans, we provided 56 scholarships so that students and museum professionals at various stages of their careers could attend. The Alliance Scholarship Program is designed to nurture inclusive and equitable best practices—for the benefit of museums, museum professionals, and the diverse audiences they serve—by supporting the professional development of individuals from underrepresented or marginalized groups. We hope to support even more scholarships in San Francisco, and this program is the sole focus of our 2019 Giving Tuesday appeal.
  • Evening Events: Our attendees tell us how much they value the connections they make at our evening events, usually held at nearby museums. A free ticket to the evening event of your choice as part of your registration is included to help you meet that one contact who might open doors to new opportunities for your museum, or for your career.
  • Leadership Level Registration:  We know many AAM members who have benefited from the generosity of others earlier in their career, and now they want to pay it forward.  So this year we’ve added our Leadership Level registration, which includes a Full Conference pass for you, while also covering the registration cost for another professional to attend.
  • Travel: To keep your travel expenses down, we’ve negotiated travel discounts with Delta and United Airlines which will be available to all attendees who book inside the official AAM hotel block. Learn more about the importance of booking the block.

With our theme of “bridge to the future” in San Francisco, find yourself in lively discussions on the future of the field and your career, financial sustainability, and how to create new revenue streams. In that same spirit, we want you to know how your registration dollars are spent. The Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo is one of the largest museum convenings in the world, so here is a high-level breakdown of the costs of providing this experience for our attendees:

This translates to a cost per attendee of $915.17*, but of course, the rate you pay for registration is well below that amount. Our ability to keep registration prices low is due in large part to the fantastic financial support that our exhibitors, sponsors, and other funders provide to make it all possible. We truly couldn’t do it without them, so please be sure to thank them when you have the chance.

Finally, we know that despite our best efforts to keep our conference affordable, it can only convene – at best – a specific segment of our field. Some of you simply cannot travel out of town, and we need your voices, your good ideas, and your participation to make the Alliance as effective as we aspire to be. To that end, we’re hosting more local, smaller in-person events, experimenting with free online convenings, and sometimes combining the two with our watch-and-talk events.

We welcome your feedback on how we’re doing—email our meetings team with your thoughts or questions.

*includes decorators, photographers, sign language interpreters, Local Host Coordinator, etc.

**based on budgeted estimated of 3,306 paid attendees